Arbindra Kumar Srivastav: A driving force for education
– We are doing it for our children’s, and their children’s, right to education and a better future, says Arbindra Kumar Srivastav.
For the past 25 years, Arbindra Kumar Srivastav has been the principal of Shree Lower Secondary School. Through his commitment to the school, he has become a well-known driving force for education in and around Nandanagar village. Together with IM and its’ partner SSDC, Arbindra fights for all children’s right to attend school and gain quality education.
Challenges to education
Nandanagar, located in the lowlands of Nepal, is a village plagued by poverty, marginalisation and illiteracy. With no long-running tradition of attending school, and few existing options for education, the awareness of its’ importance is low in the community. The bad governance in the public schools, with irregular attendance by teachers and low accountability, furthermore strengthen the parents’ hesitation to send their children to school.
– Some parents have little faith in the public schools, so if they cannot afford private school, they keep the children at home, Arbindra explains.
In 2015, IM teamed up with the local organisation SSDC in order to bring a change to the community. To do so, the development of model schools begun in order to advocate for quality education and thus increase enrolment.
One of the selected public schools was Arbindra’s Shree Lower Secondary School. Before this, the school only received little support from the government, and Arbindra often had to invest his own money in learning materials. The school was struggling to provide the enrolled children with a qualitive education in a child friendly environment, resulting in a high number of drop-outs and thereby less support by the government.
Quality education in the making
However, through the support given by IM and SSDC, this cycle has been broken. The previously empty classrooms with blank walls have now been transformed into learning friendly environments with better teaching materials. The irregular attendance by teachers have been drastically improved through the introduction of an annual curriculum, which has allowed for better monitoring. There is also proper access to sanitary facilities, clean water, and a recycling system, ensuring a consistently good environment for the students.
This progress in the school, together with identifying drop out children and sensitizing the parents about the importance of education, have shifted the attitudes in the community. Today, all of the children in Nandanagar are enrolled in school. There are still challenges ahead, but Arbindra is confident for the future and will continue to fight for all children’s right to education.
– We are doing it for our children’s, and their children’s, right to education and a better future, he says assertively.
By: Anna Lindhe, IM Intern.
Arbindra Kumar Srivastav
(Photo by: Anna Lindhe, IM)